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Antigone Or Creon The Protagonist In "Antigone", Written By Sophocles

913 words - 4 pages

AntigoneCritics have traditionally divided over the question of whether Antigone or Creon is the protagonist in the play, Antigone, by Sophocles. The answer lies in ones interpretation of the play. Is it a play about a woman doomed by the sins of her father,r is it a play about a king who holds himself more powerful than the gods?Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus. Oedipus, once the king of Thebes, unwittingly killed his father and married his mother. Four children, Polyneices, Etocles, Antigone, and Ismene were the products of that union. When Oedipus learns the true identy of Iocaste, his wife and mother, he blinds himself and leaves Thebes. His two sons, Polyneices and Etocles, wage war over the control of Thebes, and kill each other in doing so.When the play opens, Antigone is speaking with her sister, Ismene, about Creon's (present king of Thebes) decree that Polyneices be denied a burial. Polyneices' body will be put into the fields, unburied, as punishment for his attack on Thebes. Antige decides she must bury the body.If Antigone is the protagonist of this play, then the action is a further saga in the chapter of Oedipus. Oedipus and his family are doomed for his sin against the gods. Sophocles describes this in Ode II:Where once the anger of heaven has struck, that house has shakenFor ever: damnation rises behind each childLike a wave cresting out of the black northeast,When the long darkness under sea roars upAnd bursts drumming death upon the whindwhipped sand (336).Creon becomes a tool of the gods used to further the doom of the family of Oedipus.Antigone knows that she is cursed. In the prologue, Antigone says, ' . . . You would think that we had already suffered enough for the curse on Oedipus . . .' (322). She decides that it is her duty to defy Creon's proclamation and bury her brother, Pyneices, so that his soul can rest in peace in the Underworld. Antigone is not concerned with the punishment of death that he (Creon) has promised to impose on anyone who dares defy his edict, because her death has been foretold by the gods. Antigoneooses to bury Polyneices so that they can both die with honor. She notes that life is short, but that death is forever. Antigone remarks, 'It will not be the worst of deaths - death without honor' (325).If Antigone is the protagonist, all the action of the play is derived from this choice. Creon is the antagonist, the means by which Antigone makes the choice to die with honor. Creon becomes a pawn between the struggle of Antigone and the gods. Antone chooses to make her peace with the gods by...

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